Broadwindsor is to lose its only bus service in a week’s time, without warning.
The news came after the new timetable from 18 September was announced on Dorset First’s Facebook page with the accompanying wording:
Service 40: We are pleased to announce additional journeys from Monday 18th September.
Broadwindsor is not included.
The timetable was reposted by Lyme Regis and Charmouth Councillor Daryl Turner.
District councillor Jacqui Sewell says she is furious that there has been no consultation. She made the announcement at the first screening of the village’s film club on Friday night, much to the shock of locals.
In a message to county council leader and our local county councillor, Rebecca Knox, Cllr Sewell said: “The new route of the 40 bus that has been announced on FB this evening by Cllr Daryl Turner is an absolute disaster for Broadwindsor, there are many, many people that rely on the bus to get to Beaminster for work, Doctor’s appointments and shopping, but also a number of school children use this bus to get home from Colfox School.
“I cannot remember any consultation about this proposed new route with myself or the parish council – unfortunately I won’t be at BW’s Parish Council Meeting on Monday, but expect there will be a lot of concerned residents attending to, find out why Broadwindsor is losing its one & only bus service.”
Councillor Turner’s reaction on Facebook to Councillor Sewell was: “Hopefully you can help with a community offer Jacqualyne Sewell. We continue to look at options.”
Councillor Knox said: “It is frustrating that the new operator of the 40 bus as was has considered that the route through Broadwindsor is non-commercial.
“This has happened over a number of years affecting many in Dorset. For these areas, and indeed this happened in Thorncombe, South Perrott, Chedington, Corscombe, there have been some very successful community transport link services arranged. They are variable since each community has found the real demand for transport links does actually vary quite considerably.
“So the Maiden Newton connection is operated on a dial a bus (booked the day before) service, and for Thorncombe the solution is one with a firmer timetable but which fits with market day. The County Council has a team looking at helping and advising communities about what can be done. There is also seed funding.
“The basis of success of course lies with use and the evidence which will support a timetable or connection which can become sustainable. A community transport link can be supported by payments, by means of a Bus Club for instance, or individual passengers. There are all sorts of operating model.
“What do folk really want from a link? Is it daily? Early morning? Market days? It would be so helpful to collect that from the village as soon as possible. For hospital appointments there are other means of travel such as the hospital car service or the local Beaminster community car service run so brilliantly by Mike Bateman and his team of volunteer drivers. But to gather some user figures would be extremely helpful to assess what a community link might look like, suited to Broadwindsor, Drimpton and others in the area.”